I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2020

I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2020

Yesterday I received the email informing me that I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2020. July 1st is that time of the year that as a Microsoft MVP you find out if you are renewed for the new fiscal year. I was. That was cause for a celebration. But I had to wait a bit to shout out my happiness as I was in a Teams meeting on Veeam Backup for Azure.

I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2020

I enjoy being a Microsoft MVP

I am thrilled to be awarded as an MVP again. To this day I remain in the Cloud & Datacenter category which is a very good fit for me. As I do indeed work across both worlds. That’s where I help fill the gap to ensure digital transformations go smooth & you don’t lose out wherever you run your solutions. There are many creative solutions to be designed in hybrid scenarios and at the edge. Places where you can investigate, research, and find opportunities to build those creative solutions.

People who follow me know I don’t just copy/paste “best practices.” I research what works best and come up with ways to leverage technologies. I apply out of the box thinking to deliver excellent value for money efficiently and effectively. Then, I share my experiences and what I learn by writing, blogging, and speaking. That includes my successes and failures, as we learn from both.

What do I do?

I like to work end to end. The full-stack. No silos. There is no hiding behind another team or blocking another team. You could describe me as a multi-pronged T. Various prongs go deeper based on need or interest. But there are many and the T is wide so we can act and work without needing to much help to get something going. For one, this also enables me to give feedback with enough real-world knowledge to be valuable. Secondly, it keeps me honest. I do not just do design, I deploy it and support it. It has to work. I dislike support or consulting with tunnel vision or that design only for maximum profit instead of for the need at hand. My approach leaves money for better solutions and saves money in the long run. What I learn and see I take back to Microsoft in feedback, in discussion and interactions with the program managers. That is valuable for me as well as I learn a lot from them as well. In the end, it leads to better products and experiences for all of the community and customers.

I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2020

I enjoy being a Microsoft MVP for the opportunities it gives me to learn and share with like-minded people from all over the globe. While it takes a village to raise a child, the child needs to get out of the village into the world to evolve and keep learning. Today that is easier then ever before thanks to technology which eliminates many boundaries.

2020 is a bit of a special year

Talking about the globe at the time of writing. In a time of Corona and COVID-19 running amok in the world, it is our technology that makes this still possible while we do not travel en limit ourselves for the better good of all. I am proud to say that our technologies were in place to go in lockdown immediately without having to scramble for solutions. telecommuting is something we did already routinely and technologies could scale up and out, both on-premises and in the cloud, both in the areas where they excel.

That, combined with living in a country where we have universal healthcare and social benefits (taxes for the better good of all) helped ease the blow we all received. We all have shortcomings. But as a nation, businesses, and people we were ready, willing, and able to do what needed to be done.

All this means that this year and next year we do not have an in-person MVP Summit.

I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2020
A reminder of great times in Redmond & Bellevue

That saddens me. The face to face discussions from breakfast till literally in the hotel hallways before we go to sleep are priceless. Those chats with our peers and Microsoft employees are very insightful rewarding and educational. That experience and intensity are hard to recreate in a virtual event. We are all eager to get past lockdown, social distancing, and travel restrictions. We can only achieve this by self-discipline and acting responsibly at our own personal and local level. That and relentless efforts to find a vaccine, which, hopefully, will grant us back some of the privileges we enjoy.

Good intentions for 2020-2021

While I am very happy to receive the Microsoft MVP Award 2020 I want to make sure all recipients feel appreciated and are able to be themselves in our community. I plan to pay extra care into making sure that diversity, inclusiveness, and equity are always on the radar. My extra effort in order to keep the community a welcome and safe place for all.

A small gift

As a special give on the 1st of July, Microsoft made Azure Firewall Manager generally available. I have been working with this in preview the last couple of months. Today I am very pleased I can start using it in production!

The Coronavirus and Covid-19

The Coronavirus and Covid-19

I guess The Coronavirus and Covid-19 do not need an introduction anymore. The virus and the illness it brings are literally the enemies at the gates right now.

red and white flower petals
The Coronavirus (Photo by CDC on Unsplash)

We need to muster all resources to defeat this enemy and return to our normal lives. But normal should mean better lives for us all. A life where our systems work for all of us and not just to enrich the happy few. What that leads to is very clear, and it saddens me to see that happen. Now many hope this will happen after we have dealt with all this, but I am not that optimistic. I see some of our so-called top politicians slinging mud like the perfect narcissistic egos they are instead of focusing on the mission. Sad people, but if they act like this now, it holds little promise for the post-Corona crisis era.

The good news is that scientists, medical professionals, and the first line responders, as well as distribution, utility and sanitary services, are holding the line. Not only do they show more statesmanship than some politicians, but they also come into work and get at it. Many of them in low paying so-called essential or much needed but unimportant and undervalued jobs. But right now the focus is on fighting the Coronavirus and Covid-19. At least it is with all people who have common sense.

So what needs to be done?

Listen to the experts. Do your part. Act locally, think globally. I see people helping each other, self-isolating, practicing social distancing, taking care of the children and elderly while telecommuting from home. A friend of mine is working on protein folding and trying to predict the future mutations in order to see how that affects antibodies already found. Doctors and nurses taking care of my elderly mother keep coming to the house when needed. Despite the fact they had to remove their medical marking from their car to prevent theft of their medical masks and gloves. But the good so far is way more prevalent than the bad.

What do I do?

Personally, I heed all warnings and follow the advice of the quiet professionals in our medical and scientific community. I do not know any better just because I’m an IT architect who accidentally once in his life graduated as a Master in Biology (Zoology, Biochemistry, and Physiology) and did a sting as a research assistant. You might be smart and good, but this is not our area of expertise. And given the issue at hand, you should listen to those that master this field right now. That’s the WHO, the medical and the scientific community.

I am the caretaker of my elderly mother. It’s evident that I keep doing that. That means I self isolate strictly and work from home 100% to minimize risks to her and my loved ones.

I have increased monitoring and alertness for any kind of IT or security problem. My colleagues are doing that as well and handling the calls from many people less knowledgeable in IT matters that are struggling a bit to work from home. We are used to telecommuting and our operations have not missed a beat. We can deploy extra resources and having everything built redundantly gives a bit more peace of mind nowadays. The least we can do is not to make matters worse. We are at work spread out over the day so we have each other’s back and can help out. If all is going well we just keep working on other projects or tasks.

What did we lose?

Material stuff and experience. Conferences and travels got canceled. Money got lost. Spirits got a punch in the nose (for me missing the MVP Summit and quite possibly my vacation). However, that also means businesses and jobs in danger or already lost. But in comparison to the sick and deceased, nothing that we can’t cope with or fix. If you have your health and can work. Be happy about that and carry on.

A small helping hand

I also started helping my protein folding friends out with [email protected]. We stand together alone in our houses and places of work. But while in social isolation we collaborate on many fronts. Do your part where you can, but please leave the cloud resources alone. They are short in supply as we speak. For us, this is a time where our CAPEX model proves to be cheaper and more resilient than our OPEX model (yes we have both).

The Coronavirus and Covid-19
My workstation works on folding proteins while I relax
The Coronavirus and Covid-19
Putting some GPU resources to work fighting Corona

Last but not least I put a bear in front of our window for the kids who take a walk to spot and get happy about.

An action to help kids have fun and smile during the Coronavirus measures

Do your part. No matter how small it might seem. Your kindness, your extra effort, that one extra thing you do might make the difference for someone or for many. Remember, no matter how bad it looks or how depressed you feel, you can always quit later. Just not now, keep going. Together we can beat the Coronavirus and Covid-19.

My perspective on work and life

Introduction

What is so important about my perspective on work and life? Well, nothing at all unless you’re me. As an IT expert I spend way to much time in front of screens. It’s an occupational hazard. It’s not that I don’t talk to other people. I do, quite a lot. I do so for my work but also, a lot of the time, outside of my day job. That’s essential to prevent tunnel vision and echo chambers. But a big part of my time is spent working on projects (design, architecture, implementation). The remainder goes to assisting others, learning and experimenting or troubleshooting. That’s a never ending story, rinse and repeat. This never ending cycle which can lead to loss of perspective. Not just the loss of your professional perspective, but work & life wise. The rat race goes fast and in IT everything comes and goes faster than ever. You can work very hard and not get ahead. You might make lots of money but have no time to enjoy it. And it can all be over in a second.  You can spend you whole life working for something, just to have it taken away by illness, accident, natural or man made disaster or crime. Sobering thoughts, to say the least.

My perspective on work and life

While I love the IT business from silicon to the clouds I also adore the wonderful scenery that real clouds help create in the great outdoors.That’s why it’s good to take a break and go on a “walk about”. When looking out over the Grand Canyon, hiking in Yellow Stone valleys or in Great Basin with its 5000 year and older Bristlecone pines you can’t feel but insignificant. Both the big picture and over time. On a geological scale what’s a couple of million years any way, let alone less. So every now and then I get my proverbial behind out of the IT cloud, data center and out of the mind numbing open landscape offices. I go watch wild life, hike through landscapes formed by many hundreds of millions of years of natures forces at work.

image

It’s a mind set where the little aid above, the GSA (American Geological Society) geologic time scale  becomes relevant to appreciate & try to understand the natural beauty around me.

Some advise

Don’t take life and work too serious, step out of the “rat race” now and then.  Changing my priorities and my perspective on work and life during time off is a good thing. During vacations it sure is a lot different during such periods. I love it. Seeing the Rocky Mountains scenery as you drive to a hike in a comfy Ford Explorer is a just magnificent.

My perspective on work and life

From the majestic Rockies & the Pacific North & South West, the views during a road trip are stunning. The hikes amazing & the serenity is soothing to the soul. I feel great when exploring them. Take a long week-end, go on a road trip, hike around and recharge your batteries. If you’re able to work remotely, do so and explore your local natural resources during your down time or breaks.

Get over that fear of missing out and realize that “promotions” or work are less important than yourself best interest. No one will pay you double  when you work twice as hard or give you back tour time. It’s a typical example of diminishing retruns. Remember that you don’t get a second life. Live this one. Don’t pointless rush through it from birth to death. You won’t be THAT rich and THAT famous (or infamous) enough to be remembered. You’ll probably be forgotten within one or two generations. So enjoy yourself a bit. Even when Rome does burn down during your absence, that’s were new empires can grow.

Microsoft MVP Award 2018-2019

I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2018-2019

While on vacation I received some excellent news. I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2018-2019. I’m an Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in the Cloud & Datacenter expertise for another year!

Dear Didier Van Hoye,
We’re once again pleased to present you with the 2018-2019 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in recognition of your exceptional technical community leadership. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in the following technical communities during the past year:

  • Cloud and Datacenter Management

Image result for microsoft mvp award

It’s a moment of appreciation of our work in the global community. I feel both proud an humble to be part of this select group of experts chosen to be recognized by Microsoft and be awarded the Microsoft MVP Award 2018-2019. Basically it puts a smile on my face.

What does this mean?

I have another year to look forward to as a Microsoft MVP. I’ll be sharing, teaching, discussing, designing and implementing the best possible solutions. I blog, write articles, engage in webinars and speak at conferences. I also help out fellow IT professionals and MVPs when and where possible. The community exist because we contribute, not just take. But I do know I can ask for help when I need it. A big thank you to all Microsoft employees I engage with. Your patience and willingness to listen to us, even when it might be “constructive feedback” and not always praise, helps us all. I appreciate the opportunity. One very nice success this year of such collaboration was to get ReFS support extended to many more use cases.

Every year I try to make it too some of the best and most interesting conferences to learn, exchange experiences, discuss and share knowledge as both a presenter and attendee. That take a bite out of my personal time budget and sometimes even my financial budget. Both of those have limits. But that is the investment I make in myself and the community. You cannot solely depend on your employer or job for your professional advancement. They have different agendas that don’t always align.  To broaden you horizon, prevent tunnel vision and (deadly) echo chambers you need to step out of your workplace cocoon. Luckily I’m blessed with the opportunity to attend & speak at conferences where travel and expenses get paid by the organizers.  That helps a lot.

Thank you for reading, for attending my sessions, for listening to the webinars I join as a subject matter expert. You help me be a better me. Being an MVP allows me to interact with very smart people around the globe. It lets me contribute to and learn from very interesting challenges and  projects. That exposure helps me grow as I help others. It allows me to provide even more well founded feedback to Microsoft. This mutual beneficial relationship is the core of community and what being a MVP is all about.